Archive | February, 2017

How A Lifetime of Bad Choices Leads to Heart Disease

We’re wrapping up American Heart Month with a visit with the doctor. Dr. Brandon Drafts of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about how a lifetime of bad choices can lead to heart disease in this WLTX interview you can watch below.

 

While are some risk factors we can’t control such our age or genetics, we CAN control diet, activity level, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

You should get about 30 minutes of exercise a day five days a week. Focus on a consistent, long-term exercise regimen with a progression in intensity.

Smomking can increase our risk for heart disease by causing fatty plaque buildup in the heart that can ultimately lead to heart attacks.

Blood pressure is the force blood exerts on the blood vessels. Ultimately, it can weaken the blood vessels or cause the heart to thicken, weakening the function of the heart.

Generally speaking, cholesterol is a good thing because cells need cholseterol to fucntion normally. Cholesterol becomes a problem when there’s an imbalance of it, which can lead to fatty buildup in the arteries.

Stress is a modifiable risk factor that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. It’s hard to objectify or measure stress. Indirectly, it can affect blood pressure or create unhealthy habits of dealing with stress like smoking or drinking alcohol. It can also make plaque buildup in the heart unsteady, which can lead to a heart attack.

Lexington Medical Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Visit LexMed.com/Know to take a heart health quiz and find more information.

Know the Symptoms of A Heart Attack

Radio Host’s Prompt Response Saves His Life

Brent Johnson’s name may be familiar. And you’ve likely heard his voice. The Columbia man co-hosts the morning radio show on B106.7 and calls plays during University of South Carolina football games on the Gamecock Radio Network.

But his best work in 2016 didn’t involve lively repartee on the morning airwaves or thrilling play-by-play Gamecock broadcasts. It was paying attention to his heart.

The award-winning radio personality tends to ignore things like occasional cold symptoms. “I’m a walk-it-off kind of guy,” he said. “But I knew something wasn’t right.”

It was Memorial Day, and Johnson came home after a work day that started at 5:00 a.m. A new kind of pain had his full attention.

“Not only was I having pain and tightness in my chest, I felt like someone was pushing on my chest from behind — the pain was coming through my back,” he said. “I had numbness in my shoulder that didn’t feel right to me.”

Brent told his wife. “She knew something was up when I said ‘I really feel like I have to go to the emergency room.’”

She took him to Lexington Medical Center immediately.

“As a broadcaster, I’m involved with a lot of public awareness campaigns, including heart month. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t go to the hospital, with as many times as I’ve said over the years, ‘If you have heart pain, don’t take any chances.’”

At Lexington Medical Center, Brent immediately went to an exam room for an electrocardiogram to check for problems with electrical activity in the heart. But the report said his heart was normal and healthy.

“I was still in pain,” he said. “They didn’t let me go home.” Further testing, including a cardiac catheterization, revealed a clogged artery.

R. Taylor Williams, MD, FACC

“The staff made me feel confident, not panicked. They consulted with my other doctors on my medications. And when they say ‘You need a heart catheterization,’ they’ll tell you how fast you’ll be in and out. They really know what they’re doing.”

Cardiac catheterization involves threading a long, thin tube through the blood vessels to the heart. It can both diagnose and treat heart problems. Johnson’s procedure indicated he had suffered a heart attack. An artery at the back of the heart was blocked completely, explaining his mysterious back pain. The team used a stent — a tube-shaped device that opens the artery —to allow blood to circulate again.

“Brent had no major risk factors for coronary artery disease, yet he was appropriately concerned enough to go to the Emergency department when he developed symptoms that suggested a heart problem,” said R. Taylor Williams, MD, FACC, of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Dr. Williams performed the stent procedure. “Brent deserves the credit for the good outcome.”

Brent was back at the microphone within a week. He takes medicine to prevent another blockage, and says he’s doing great.

“I have a family history of heart disease, but my heart has always been healthy. My vitals were fine — no high blood pressure — and I’ve always had a good stress test,” he said. “I didn’t have a reason to suspect heart problems.”

His intuition helped save his life.

To test your knowledge of heart attack symptoms, take a quiz at LexMed.com/Know

Heart Health During Pregnancy

By Donna Andrews, MSN

Donna Andrews, MSN, is a certified nurse midwife at Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. Certified nurse midwives are advanced practice nurses who provide OB/GYN care for women throughout their lives. Here’s what she had to say about heart health during pregnancy.

A woman’s body produces 30 to 50 percent more blood during pregnancy. That can tax the heart and kidneys, and sometimes leave her short of breath. For most women, these changes do not cause lasting harm.

Donna Andrews, MSN, inside Lexington Women’s Care with a patient

Often, pregnancy is a woman’s first encounter with regular health visits and screenings. Urine, heart and blood pressure checks happen at every visit. An unusual result may require further tests for cardiac issues. We may discover hidden or even congenital heart problems such as heart murmurs, irregular heart rhythms or heart valve problems.

The trend of older women becoming pregnant raises the risk for serious issues including congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and even stroke, as the heart, kidneys, heart valves and arteries become strained.

A new diagnosis of high blood pressure during pregnancy is a warning sign for preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that prevents the placenta from receiving adequate blood flow and may threaten the health and life of mother and child. We also screen for high blood pressure because women who have it during pregnancy have a 40 percent chance of it continuing after the baby is born.

Because the heart plays a critical role for both the mother and baby, it’s important to be aware of danger signs that can flag serious issues: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath with exertion; rapid heart rate; chest pain; coughing at night or a bloody cough; and infrequent urination. Because so many issues can be identified early and treated, keeping monthly prenatal appointments is a critical factor for long-term health.

Throughout the entire pregnancy, we encourage daily exercise. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk each day can help pregnant women stay within the parameters of healthy weight gain. We know that gaining too much during pregnancy can damage the heart, even after the baby is born.

It’s easy to say when someone is feeling winded or tired that ‘it’s just pregnancy.’ But we need to listen to women and be sensitive to all of their needs. We take care of women for a lifetime. Our work is mostly prevention. If we can teach women about becoming healthier, it contributes to better health overall.

#LMCJustSayKnow